Millennial business owner says any entrepreneur should splurge on this one thing


For young people, entrepreneurship is the new 9 to 5, with 60% of teens saying they want to start their own business instead of working a traditional job. 

However, with the uncertainty business owners have faced during the past two years, it can be beneficial for Gen Zers to learn from professionals who managed to thrive during — and after — the height of the pandemic. 

Jane Labowitch, also known as Princess Etch, is a 30-year-old Etch a Sketch artist who uses the mechanical drawing toy to create intricate portraits and landscapes. For the last 6 years, her art has been her primary source of income.

Jane Labowitch standing next to her art in a museum.

Princess Etch

Before the pandemic, Labowitch made a chunk of her income teaching in-person classes and workshops. But, after leveraging social media in 2020, she was able to supplement that income and then some. 

“When [the pandemic] first happened, I was terrified,” Labowitch tells CNBC Make It. “I immediately lost a number of jobs, and the number of email correspondents I had about promising projects just disappeared. But if there’s anything I did during the pandemic, it was maintain consistency. Because with the magic of the internet, I was able to work with a global audience.”

According to Labowitch, here are three things that aspiring business owners should remember:

Strategize with social media

Labowitch says that social media is a great tool for building a brand and showcasing what your business has to offer. She uses platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Discord and Twitch to boost her company’s online presence.

“I consider everything I post on the internet to be in some way, a type of advertisement for my services. I’m marketing myself with every example of work that I create because you never know who’s going to see it. And you’re never going to know if something you made two years ago gets seen by the right set of eyes and leads to an interesting email in your inbox.”

Labowitch initially started showcasing her art on Myspace in 2007, but most recently, she amped up her TikTok presence by doing live streams of her drawing process. Her viewers were then able to send her monetary tips in the app and have a more personal connection with her.

These live streams not only helped her establish an online presence of over 200,000 followers but also helped make her enough money to pay off the last $13,484.58 of her student loans

“TikTok roses are the lowest denomination of currency you can donate to a live stream, and the streamer receives the equivalent of half a penny per rose,” Labowitch says. “So I did the math and found that I needed 2,696,916 roses.”

“It took me exactly 30 days and 117 hours of live streaming to raise enough money. It took over my life for the entire month of April. And I developed this whole new, really passionate fan base of people who just really wanted to support me and my business.” 

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